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Jessica Johns is a nehiyaw aunty with English-Irish ancestry and a member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. She won the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her story “Bad Cree.” Johns’ debut novel of the same name was shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, named the MacEwan University Book of the Year, and featured on the 2024 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads. She currently lives in Treaty 6 territory (Edmonton). 



2020 Journey Prize Winner Jessica Johns

Award History

Jury Citation

"Jessica Johns’ 'Bad Cree' explores the truth inside a dream and the relationship between memory and grief. Where do you store a moment stuck on repeat? The narrator searches for solace while meditating on conceptual forgiveness. Her journey is not limited by self-preservation but flirts with teachings from the land, from her people, from the crow. With a dash of humour and a swift poetic hand, Johns’ prose moves, crushes, and dazzles. 'Bad Cree' is the kind of story that wakes you up in the middle of the night, purposefully and uncomfortably. Not with a question, but with an answer."
— 2020 Journey Prize Jury (Amy Jones, and Doretta Lau, and Téa Mutonji)

Works recognized by WT

Bad Cree